Is praying for sporting success a form of cheating?

Is there a God? If so, what is She like?

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Dunce
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Is praying for sporting success a form of cheating?

Post by Dunce »

Mo Farah (who is a Muslim) kneels in a prayer of thanks after winning a race. Usain Bolt crosses himself before a race. There is nothing secretive about what they are doing; but is it cheating? If it were possible to get a divine being to intervene in order to get you to run faster than your rivals, would this be a form of undue influence, akin to bribing a corrupt official? I've no idea why a divine being would intervene in such a way, but then I have no faith. Some competitors apparently believe divine intervention does occur in sport, so is their prayer a form of cheating, or more like a form of training?
surreptitious57
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Re: Is praying for sporting success a form of cheating?

Post by surreptitious57 »

No their prayer is not a form of cheating because from their perspective they are not always answered
Though if they think they have a God given talent then there is no need to be praying in the first place
They should simply go out and do their best like everyone else. And it can be problematic for God if he
receives prayers from their opponents as well. So best to leave it and just thank him when they do win
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Dunce
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Re: Is praying for sporting success a form of cheating?

Post by Dunce »

Yes, it would make sense to thank God for having given you the ability to win even if you hadn't asked him to, assuming you believe he made you who you are with all your abilities.

I did however, recently read an account of the 1988 100m Olympic final in which Linford Christie is quoted as saying, 'Everyone was praying. Even the atheists were crossing themselves. It's all, you know, "Help me, God, to win."'

Perhaps what these athletes pray for is not so much athletic ability, as the mental strength to push themselves to fulfil their full potential, to make themselves suffer. A prayer for the gift of self-torture.
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Hobbes' Choice
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Re: Is praying for sporting success a form of cheating?

Post by Hobbes' Choice »

Dunce wrote:Mo Farah (who is a Muslim) kneels in a prayer of thanks after winning a race. Usain Bolt crosses himself before a race. There is nothing secretive about what they are doing; but is it cheating? If it were possible to get a divine being to intervene in order to get you to run faster than your rivals, would this be a form of undue influence, akin to bribing a corrupt official? I've no idea why a divine being would intervene in such a way, but then I have no faith. Some competitors apparently believe divine intervention does occur in sport, so is their prayer a form of cheating, or more like a form of training?
No, praying for success in anything is two things; 1) a complete waste of time; and 2) delusional.

Here we see Aryton Senna praying before the race in which he died due to his tyre pressures being too low - so much for God.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtyBB4ZKOS8
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Dunce
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Re: Is praying for sporting success a form of cheating?

Post by Dunce »

Hobbes' Choice wrote:No, praying for success in anything is two things; 1) a complete waste of time; and 2) delusional.
I'm inclined to agree it's delusional. I'm not so sure it's a waste of time. It may be that prayer is one part of the brain communicating with another; that other part of the brain may have some bearing on physical performance.

Here is something on what neuroscientists are learning about what is going on during prayer...
http://www.sciencechannel.com/tv-shows/ ... on-prayer/
According to the boffin on this video, the same part of the frontal lobe is activated in prayer as in conversation. There is apparently, as far as the brain is concerned no difference between praying and talking to a person. The experience is at least neurologically real.

I found the comments from Linford Christie about even the atheists crossing themselves before an important race interesting. They remind me of the old Christian assertion, "There are no atheists in an exam room." This is not actually true. Yet when something important is at stake people do have a tendency to seek a conversational experience with some sort of agency with some sort of power, even if they have no theological framework to make sense (or nonsense) of such a conversation.
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Dunce
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Re: Is praying for sporting success a form of cheating?

Post by Dunce »

Hobbes' Choice wrote:Here we see Aryton Senna praying before the race in which he died due to his tyre pressures being too low - so much for God.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtyBB4ZKOS8
He obviously forgot to ask God to pump up the tyres.
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Re: Is praying for sporting success a form of cheating?

Post by bobevenson »

There has never been a scintilla of scientific evidence that prayer of any kind has ever been answered. For instance, medical studies have shown absolutely no difference in prognosis based on the prayers of others. So praying for sporting success is merely a futile attempt at cheating.
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Re: Is praying for sporting success a form of cheating?

Post by Impenitent »

of course the losers of every competition are likewise shunned by god...

-Imp
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Hobbes' Choice
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Re: Is praying for sporting success a form of cheating?

Post by Hobbes' Choice »

Dunce wrote:
Hobbes' Choice wrote:No, praying for success in anything is two things; 1) a complete waste of time; and 2) delusional.
I'm inclined to agree it's delusional. I'm not so sure it's a waste of time. It may be that prayer is one part of the brain communicating with another; that other part of the brain may have some bearing on physical performance.

Here is something on what neuroscientists are learning about what is going on during prayer...
http://www.sciencechannel.com/tv-shows/ ... on-prayer/.
Has no one ever told you that the "science channel" is not respectable?


If prayer is like talking to yourself, then why the fuck not just talk to yourself without the mumbo-jumbo?
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Hobbes' Choice
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Re: Is praying for sporting success a form of cheating?

Post by Hobbes' Choice »

Dunce wrote:
Hobbes' Choice wrote:Here we see Aryton Senna praying before the race in which he died due to his tyre pressures being too low - so much for God.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtyBB4ZKOS8
He obviously forgot to ask God to pump up the tyres.
Yes one of the down sides to prayer, and faith: the notion that someone is looking after you. An omnipotent god would know if the tire pressure was too low.
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Lacewing
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Re: Is praying for sporting success a form of cheating?

Post by Lacewing »

This topic inspires some interesting thoughts to consider.

I see a difference in integrity between someone praying for their own strength/ability to be at its peak vs. someone praying to "win". Praying to win means someone else must lose, meaning asking one's god to make a choice (possibly between many believers) and be on one's own side. Why would one "use" one's god for such a thing? Is one's god like a genie in a bottle? Is one's god as absorbed/favorable with one (more than others) as oneself is? Does that not suggest that one's god is a creation/extension of oneself?

If one "wins"... they look upward and almost tearfully say "thank you"... and then everyone can see that they "give the glory to their god" (do they really?) and that god was backing THEM (which actually seems to glorify themselves). If one doesn't win, they privately tell themselves, "it was god's will". How many look upward and visibly ask (for all to see), "Why, god, why? What have I done to be undeserving of your favors?" Nor do they look upward and visibly thank god for others winning. Wouldn't that glorify god? Or, again, is it really about glorifying themselves?

As I think someone else mentioned, if it's ALL god's will, what difference does asking make? Other than to pump oneself up with one's own creations/thoughts, of which one's god seems to be? If one's god is truly more than that, why not just ask to be the best one can be, and not try to control/influence god's will and vast awareness of all things?
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Hobbes' Choice
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Re: Is praying for sporting success a form of cheating?

Post by Hobbes' Choice »

Lacewing wrote:This topic inspires some interesting thoughts to consider.

I see a difference in integrity between someone praying for their own strength/ability to be at its peak vs. someone praying to "win". Praying to win means someone else must lose, meaning asking one's god to make a choice (possibly between many believers) and be on one's own side. Why would one "use" one's god for such a thing? Is one's god like a genie in a bottle? Is one's god as absorbed/favorable with one (more than others) as oneself is? Does that not suggest that one's god is a creation/extension of oneself?

If one "wins"... they look upward and almost tearfully say "thank you"... and then everyone can see that they "give the glory to their god" (do they really?) and that god was backing THEM (which actually seems to glorify themselves). If one doesn't win, they privately tell themselves, "it was god's will". How many look upward and visibly ask (for all to see), "Why, god, why? What have I done to be undeserving of your favors?" Nor do they look upward and visibly thank god for others winning. Wouldn't that glorify god? Or, again, is it really about glorifying themselves?

As I think someone else mentioned, if it's ALL god's will, what difference does asking make? Other than to pump oneself up with one's own creations/thoughts, of which one's god seems to be? If one's god is truly more than that, why not just ask to be the best one can be, and not try to control/influence god's will and vast awareness of all things?
You objection is only a moral one. But right on topic. Praying to win by a person who thinks god is on their side would not be problematic.

But all prayer is of this type.
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